Internet privacy - protect your online privacy

Jeffrey Wilens is so outraged that he filed a class action suit against RealNetworks for allegedly violating his and other consumers' privacy. The attorney claims in his suit (in the US) that the company's RealJukebox software secretly recorded the titles of music CDs and MP3 tracks he played on his PC, then sent the data back to RealNetworks - creating a detailed profile of Wilens' musical tastes.

"I don't accept the concept that there is no privacy on the Internet," Wilens says. "I think rogue companies need to learn to modify their behaviour."

RealNetworks flatly denies Wilens' charges. "Contrary to media reports, we have never monitored user behaviour or listening habits," says Keela Robison, product manager for the company. However, she admits that RealJukebox did create a unique identification number for each user and stored the numbers in the same database that holds user names and e-mail addresses. Theoretically, these numbers could track where people go on the Web. The company quickly released a patch that disabled the software's ability to issue the IDs, but that wasn't enough to satisfy Wilens and others, who had filed a total of a dozen suits against RealNetworks at press time.

Meanwhile, six other lawsuits in the US are pending against Internet advertising network DoubleClick for creating online profiles of consumers. Three similar suits have been filed against Alexa, an Amazon subsidiary. With few other avenues of recourse at their disposal, users have taken to the courts to fight for their right to privacy. But the battle has just begun.

A not-so-private little war

Profiles in commerce

Double trouble

Are you being followed?

Policies are no insurance

Legal remedies

Technology to the rescue?

Too much, too soon

Should you trust Truste?

Private eyes

Join the PC World newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Daniel Tynan

PC World
Show Comments

Essentials

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?